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Deadwood management in production forests

Written by Lucie Vítková

“Deadwood has a major role for the conservation of saproxylic species and contributes to carbon sequestration, nutrient supply, natural regeneration and protection against falling rocks.” (Lachat et al., 2013:92)*

A substantial amount of literature on the importance of deadwood in Central European forests has been available providing partial recommendations to enhance deadwood-dependent biodiversity. However, a comprehensive review of science- and forestry experts-based recommendations effectively enhancing deadwood bearing in mind operational implications has not been presented in international literature.

Therefore, Lucie Vítková and her colleagues from the Department of Forest Ecology at the Czech University of Life Sciences published a paper in Forest Ecology and Management which compiles the key aspects regarding the implementation of deadwood management in managed forests where the aim is to favour biodiversity without compromising or negatively affecting operational and commercial aspects of forest management. This paper is complemented by certified forest management guidelines published for the Czech forestry professionals whose translation can be accessed here.

The above mentioned work includes simple deadwood management guidelines rooted in science and forestry expertise aiding decision-making in the efforts to effectively enhance biodiversity without compromising other management objectives. Specifically, long-term retention of individual trees or tree groups and the retention of already existing deadwood (e.g. snags, coarse woody debris, uprooted, snapped, and sun-exposed trees) as well as artificial creation of deadwood (e.g. tree girdling) are presented here as we identified them as the key approaches to successful deadwood management. The major advantages and disadvantages of individual deadwood management approaches in terms of biological and operational/commercial aspects are also emphasised in order to assist forest managers in their decision-making. Furthermore, the key factors that should be considered when applying ecologically and economically efficient deadwood management are discussed; i.e. retention of trees with microhabitats, size of retained trees, position and arrangement, and decay stage. The main points regarding these factors are also addressed in the light of supporting realistic implementation of individual deadwood management approaches.

Lucie Vítková, PhD, is a scientist at the Department of Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. Her research focuses on Deadwood management and its impact on ecosystems services.


 *Taken from: “Integrative approaches as an opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity” (Daniel Kraus and Frank Krumm (eds.))

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